Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Not Good - All About Yesterday; Mora Speaks; More Rundown and the O's Blogosphere

Was yesterday's game ever ugly or what! At points, you felt no matter how far the Orioles were behind, they were going to come back -- or at least make the game interesting. Well, at other points yesterday, the game was, um -- ugly.

Baltimore fought hard at the plate; alas, when your starting pitcher puts you in a five run deficit to start the game, and the bullpen falters as well, it does not matter what the offense does, because 95 out of 100 times, you'll lose the battle.

Last night, the Orioles lost 13-8 to the Cleveland Indians in perhaps one of the ugliest games I have seen in a long while. As metioned, the pitching folded and so did the defense -- will someone please sit Alex Cintron (Juan Castro, please get well) or just literally have him serve as a pinch hitter?

Sarfate, who is clearly not ready to be a starter -- despite he calming down in the 3rd & 4th innings before being lit up again -- gave up seven runs (six earned, while aside from Castillo (who may have single handedly kept Baltimore) in the game, Rocky Cherry (who took the loss) and Jamie Walker were as awful as awful could be, giving up six runs in two innings.

Nick Markakis had three hits and four RBIs, and Huff hit his 24th homer; however, it doesn't matter if you're facing the Yankees, Red Sox, Royals, or Mariners -- if your pitching stinks, you are not going to win.

***

It's needless to say, despite Melvin Mora's numbers this season -- perhaps, the last few years has been in a decline phase -- however, he's been clutch this season with runners in scoring position. Pressox's Pete Kerzel has an interview with him, and always outspoken, Melvin always says what's on his mind...

Is Mora the high-average power hitter that averaged 27 home runs, 92 RBIs and hit a combined .310 in 2004 and 2005? Or is he the slick-fielding guy at the hot corner whose numbers have fluctuated wildly -- usually downward -- over the previous two seasons as he battled to stay healthy?

Mora bristles at any suggestion of a decline in his output, defiantly insisting that, when healthy, he produces.

“The people talking [stuff] like that, do they know I was [for] two months hurt last year? I didn’t play for two months, and I was down in rehab,” Mora said. “I don’t care what the people say. The only thing I care about is that I’m healthy, I’m fine, and I’m here to do what I do. I don’t get paid for what I’m going to do; I get paid for what I did.”

and...

Mora feels like he has earned the right to shed his former life as a utility specialist.

“I’m a third baseman,” he said. “That doesn’t mean in an emergency I can’t go to short. But I’m a third baseman. I never forget the positions I’ve played in the past because that’s how I make it to the big leagues. I enjoyed playing center field in the past. I’ve enjoyed playing second base. I enjoyed playing shortstop for New York [Mets]. I enjoy playing wherever. … But you have to work hard to get comfortable at.”

Mora wants to finish his career in Baltimore, where he has made his home and is raising his family. And he realizes a strong second half -- even for a club struggling to climb out of last place in the powerful American League East -- will help make that commitment more tolerable for fans and management alike.
“It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish,” Mora said. “If you have a slow start you need to get to the second half and try to go strong.”

Whether he was hurt or not, he's been in a decline and that's reasonable for someone his age. At this point, as long as he can help the team -- it doesn't matter to me. I think he's been a far, far better third baseman than anyone has envisioned, and is still productive, but the Melvin of a few years ago has come and passed.

The numbers don't lie.
Just for the sake of things, let me add another series of quotes. This all may become classic one day...

Orioles third baseman Melvin Mora insists he didn't hear the criticism that resulted from two straight years of declining offensive numbers. He wasn't aware of the mounting opinion that he is on the downside of his career and no longer was a productive middle of the lineup hitter.

And if he had heard all those things, it wouldn't have made much of an impact on the 36-year-old anyway.

"I don't have nothing to prove. I've already done my job. You can check my numbers with all the third baseman in baseball right now and you can see for yourself," Mora said last night.

"I don't care what people say. People talking about that can kiss my butt. That's what I say. People don't say that I was going to hit 20 home runs. People didn't say Kevin Millar was going to hit 20 homers. They didn't say Aubrey Huff was going to hit 300. What are they going to say now?"
Classic. Awesome.

***

Draft pick Brian Matusz emailed Orioles Hangout and updated the masses about his contract status (link courtesy of Camden Chat) & the Sun has more on it; Camden Chat also has an interesting link to a Mike Mussina interview with Yahoo on their blog as well (kind of irked to see what Mussina has to say about Baltimore, but when you don't win, expect statements like that); James Baker of Oriole Magic ponders about Lou Montanez as does Ben from Oriole Central; Brian Roberts updated his video blog on MASNSports.com, Roch Kubatko ponders roster moves, Amber Theoharis believes that Juan Castro has what it takes to stay in the majors, providing he does it at the plate; Heath from Dempsey's Army takes a look at Chris Waters, Steve Melewski believes that Nick Markakis is the best player on this team -- not Aubrey Huff ; finally, the Roar from 34 takes a look at Oriole legend (ok, being facetious) here, Bob Milacki.


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